November 20, 2012

Orange isn’t just for Thanksgiving

by rebecca elisabeth design

apricot, amber, brass, burnt orange,

citrus, copper, peach, pumpkin,

salmon, tangerine, terracotta, vermilion

Often overlooked, orange, a happy cheerful color can be considered bright and bold and too brilliant to use in our homes. However peach, vermillion and apricot are a tint of orange that are quite common. A warm and inviting color, it is both physically and mentally stimulating, so it gets people thinking and talking. The color psychology of orange is optimistic and uplifting, rejuvenating our spirit. Orange brings spontaneity and it helps to keep us motivated and looking on the bright side of life. Being around orange raises our enthusiasm, helping to rejuvenate us by restoring balance to our physical energy. While not as excitable as red it is a stimulating color, that helps us to find the strength to face consequences, take action and make changes.

Orange conjures up images of autumn leaves, pumpkins, and Halloween. It represents the change between the heat of summer and the cool of winter. Because orange is also a citrus color, it can evoke thoughts of vitality and good health. Peachy oranges are less flamboyant than their redder cousins but still energetic and friendly, yet soothing.

Using bold color in small amounts is a good way to introduce stronger hues into your home. Use orange as a feature wall to create a focal point, add a blue or purple accent on the table and you have a striking color combination. Throw around some bright orange cushions to enliven up a dull color scheme, or add some orange flowers to a vase to brighten a room.

What shade of orange suits you best?

  • A bold orange is a great color choice for teenager’s bedrooms as it is happy and active and has anti depressive properties. For a fresh, fun look, team orange with yellow.
  • The neutral can be a main color in the color scheme while orange makes a bold accent color. Orange goes well with black, white, gray, cream, brown beige and other neutrals.
  • Paler oranges such as salmon, peach, and apricot work well in bedrooms
  • Entertainment areas are ideal for orange as it is a happy, fun, social color, but should be avoided in kitchens if you are trying to lose weight as orange stimulates appetite
  • If working from home you may need a bit of an energy boost to keep you motivation. A splash of citrus orange may be just the injection of color you need to keep going.
  • If you are after a retro look, try shades of brown with a burnt orange
  • For a crisp beachy look think about touches of turquoise with tangerine orange. As blue is the complementary color to orange, the blue will make the orange look more orange and vice versa.
  • Mix orange with green for a tropical look.
August 15, 2012

Should you really hire a designer when building a home?

by rebecca elisabeth design
The better question is, can you afford not to hire a designer? Designers work daily with vendors, contractors, architects and anyone else that works on a home.  Project by project this extensive knowledge is developed and grows, and allows designers to add value to the design/build process by looking at it from the end perspective. Remember, designers are the closest to the actual home owner, in that designers work with the finished shell in the furnishing stage of home building.  Because of this, designers know the possible pitfalls and wrong turns that could come your way as the home is being built.

A few examples of some pitfalls, I’ve personally experienced in San Diego:
  • no place for window treatments to minimize glare from western exposure
  • door swings heading in the wrong direction
  • small closets in a large home
  • doors without screens and no windows in the room
  • lack of privacy in baths from neighbors or passerby
Designers will help and guide you through the process by:
  1. managing the decision making process to minimize stress,
  2. conveying decisions to the builder,
  3. overseeing the building process,
  4. looking out for your best interests and guiding you through this stressful time to ensure you get your dream home.

Consider this, creating lists and organize your project will likely take you 10 times longer than an experienced designer. Finding fixtures, fittings, appliances, furnishings, etc will take you 3-4 times as long as a designer who does this regularly. One of the problems is this, you only know of a few places to look for the things you need to specify, different showrooms show different things. You probably only know 3-5 brands.  You only have access to retail sourcing and, and, and.  If you do this yourself, you will be giving up your weekends and week nights, searching 1/4 of what is out there, likely get frustrated and loose sleep in the process. A designer can help mitigate these stresses. So, you need to ask yourself, what is peace of mind worth to you?

If you are on a tight budget you can still work with a designer but may have to work with them in a less convention way, to get the best results for your project. Consider paying a designer to review plans, walk framing, create space plans, suggest brands, schedule meetings to ask for advice, and make choices for your project from the selections you have found.  Please note that fees, for consultation only, are typically more expensive than hiring a designer to design your whole house, expect 1.25 – 2.5x the hourly fee, but trust me, this is well worth getting an expert opinion, especially on something that isn’t easily undone.

Please feel free to contact me  Rebecca, of to talk about your project.

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May 8, 2012

Using Color in Your Home Interior: Gray

by rebecca elisabeth design

So what is a non-color? A color that compliments any other color is considered a non-color or neutral. Gray is a neutral and can be combined with almost any color and will help to neutralize colors that in their full intensity might be too much. Think of a bright yellow, potentially too much on its own but when paired with gray works. Gray can be both contemporary and traditional whereby suiting everyone’s taste. Gray can create understated elegant spaces that are easy to change by changing accessories.

 ash, battleship, cadet, charcoal,
dovegunmetal, mousy, oyster,
payne’s gray, pearl, silver, slate, taupe

Gray is a reassuring, comforting, subtle color that subconsciously helps ward off mental strain, creates the feeling of stability and reduce fear. Selecting the wrong gray can lead to dull, drab, and dingy looking interiors.

A gray hue may function the same way as a beige tone, providing a calming effect to a brightly lit room or alternatively, bringing warmth to a dim room. Grey has undertones of blue, pink(red), purple so when mixing with other colors it is important to know the undertone of the gray that has been selected so that you aren’t mixing colors unintentionally.  As an example in this top picture here the undertone is blue and it has been played up using a more vibrant blue to create a contemporary look.  Where as, the image at the bottom of the page has a green undertone and has been combined with creams to create a sophisticated traditional interior.

What color comes to your mind when you hear gray?

  • use lighter grays in place of white
  • use darker gray in place of black
  • taupe, a grayish brown neutral is a conservative, slightly earthy, warm shade of gray
  • light grays with pastel shades are feminine
  • light grays with dark colors are more masculine
  • use gray and pale neutral hues to create elegant designs
  • metallic grays can make a space look luxurious and opulent


Related articles: Color Trends 2012 – Naturally Neutral  |  Faux Finishing: Notes on Painting in Grisaille Color Therapy

April 10, 2012

Using Color in Your Home Interior: Green

by rebecca elisabeth design

Nature shows us that green is the ultimate neutral color. Any possible color you can imagine is shown in combination with green in the plant world. Think of your local florist and how spectacular their windows look teaming with the multitudes of colors, red, yellow, blue, etc. all supported by one shade of green or the other.

apple, aquamarine, chartreuse, emerald, firn,
grass green, jade, kelly green,
lime, mint, moss, olive
, pea green, pine, sage
sea green, seafoam, spring green

It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility; it suggests stability and endurance. The cool, tranquil effect of green makes time pass more quickly and it can help you sleep. On a subconscious level green is a restful color for the human eye, it can help to improve vision and creates a feeling of safety. However, sometimes green is associated with a lack of experience, envy and jealousy.

What color green are you attracted to?

  • Soft greens are restful and calming ideal for kids rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms for its relaxing and calming effects, however it is not good for skin color rendition so be sure that when used in bathrooms that it doesn’t reflect in the mirrors
  • Green works well with strong and vivid colors
  • Green appears rich when seen in velvets or silks
  • Watch for combining with red and avoid a Christmas themed room


Related articles:  Color Theory: Brighten Up With a Pop of Kelly GreenColor Theory Made Easy

March 20, 2012

Using Color in Your Home Interior: Yellow

by rebecca elisabeth design

banana, cadmium, chartreuse,
chiffon, cream, golden, goldenrod, khaki,
lemon, saffron, topaz, ocher

We have covered red, blue and now yellow, all know as primary colors, meaning all colors can be created by mixing these 3 colors and adding white or black to make them lighter or darker. Whether contemporary or traditional, yellow can really brighten up a room making it friendly, warm and welcoming.

Yellow makes me think of sunshine. On the color spectrum it is one of the warm colors that, like all colors, has conflicting symbolism. On the one hand it denotes happiness and joy but on the other hand yellow is the color of cowardice and deceit.

The subconscious effects of yellow are numerous, it stimulates digestion and circulation, raises alertness, sharpens memory, inspires imagination/creativity  and raises spirits. Like all good things, too much yellow has a negative effect and can increases hostility and irritability. Color researchers believe the color yellow strengthens overall well-being and increases self-esteem.



What shade comes to your mind when you think yellow?

  • cream, yellow mixed with a lot of white, is an extremely popular color as it is warm but not overpowering and can be mixed with almost any other color
  • use lemon yellow to create a crisp, lively, summery feel for an outdoor space
  • when red or orange are too strong or too dark, use bright yellow to create an exciting room
  • golden-yellow or ocher are great forms of yellow for a Mediterranean home creating warmth and depth
  • chartreuse is an excellent accent color for contemporary homes, giving a crisp, fresh and clean feel
  • shades of yellow can be used in place of gold when a metallic isn’t desirable
  • khaki is a form of yellow, we all know that khaki is a wonderful ground to any accent color you may be using
  • Very pale yellows can work as neutrals alongside darker or richer color.


Related articles:  Definition: Chartreuse  |  Yellow Fever   |  The Underdog of Colors: An Ode to Yellow

February 9, 2012

Using Color in Your Home Interior: Blue

by rebecca elisabeth design

Colors are so much more than just their pigment combinations of red, yellow, blue, white and black. They are non-verbal communication, each having an effect on our psyche. Colors evoke emotion which can be both positive and negative depending on how much, where, and the intensity of the color used in your interior. On the color spectrum going from warm to cool, blue is considered to be a cool color.

 azure, baby blue, cerulean, cobalt, cornflower blue,
indigo, midnight blue, navy, Prussian blue,
obin’s egg blue, royal, sapphire, sky blue, slate, steel blue

Consider the colors of the sky to the various shades of water, blue a nature inspired color, is known for its calming effect.  The subconscious effects of blue are numerous, it encourages deep breathing, slows heartbeat, drops blood pressure, and decreases appetite. Blue can also have a negative subconscious effect creating extreme feelings of calm associated with sadness or depression.

The cool, tranquil effect of blue makes time pass more quickly and it can help you sleep. While blue is a good color for bedrooms and baths, too much blue could have an adverse affect on mood and create dampen spirits. Blue can be striking and formal in combination with white. It can be playful and great for kids rooms when combined with pale yellow for infants, mint green for toddlers or orange for grade-schoolers.

What color comes to your mind when you hear blue?

  • Dark blues such as royal blue or indigo convey sophistication and maybe a touch of superiority
  • Navy blue (almost black) creates a feeling of security (think logos and the military)
  • Pastel blues convey a sense of playfulness (think baby’s rooms and spring time colors)
  • Grey blues convey a modern sophistication and work as a great neutral to add pops of color
  • Combining shades of blue create a conservative yet sophisticated look
  • Combining dark blue with metallic accents create an elegant rich look
  • Combine pure blue with its complimentary color orange and get a room that will waken the sense. Or use this color combination in more muted tones and have a sophisticated room with some contrast and color depth.


Related articles:  Fresh Twist on Classic Colors  |  Color Theory Made Easy  |  Bold Blue-Greens: Teal Interiors from Around the Web

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